To be ill is to be displaced—displaced from health, displaced from one’s former self, displaced from the community of the well.
Amy V. Blakemore reads from her prize-wining essay, “The Tapeworm” from BLR Issue 40.
Dr. Shanda McManus reads an excerpt from her BLR essay, “Breathing,” as part of BLR’s 20th Anniversary Celebration.
Despite my respect for my students, I was afraid of them. Afraid of the way they watched me as I delivered a lecture, afraid of whispers, silences.
It is not unusual, after I’ve given a poetry reading, for some impossibly young writer from the audience to remark over the post-literary pretzels and Diet Coke, “Wow, your stuff is really depressing.’’
My office is quiet except for the noise I make: the click of the light switch, the hum of the computer, the crinkle of my paper gown as I unwrap it. I pull on my PPE—gown, gloves, mask, and goggles—makeshift protection as I evaluate patients for suspected Covid infection.
Last summer, the moths clung to the shingles of our house. They fluttered right past us, mottled wings snapping, through our open door.
My medical knowledge is limited to what I have learned here at the lab. All of it applicable only to non-human mammals.
The “General Slocum,” was the biggest and fastest harbor day-liner. That day, about 2,000 passengers, embarked for an annual Sunday School excursion.